Drina Ballerina

Written by: Jean Estoril, Mabel Esther Allan

Drina Ballerina Book Cover
As Drina becomes an adult, she has difficult choices to make trying to balance a career as a dancer with her personal life.
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Drina Ballerina Reviews

Beth
It’s a funny series, this one. Charming in its way - unfinished, too, since only the first five books were published in the US - and a weird mix of hard work and ridiculous good luck.

That mix is best done in the third book, I think, which is not coincidentally the book where Drina actively tries to live a wider life. That changes in the later books, when her chief defining characteristic is that she must dance, more than anything.

It’s that note that makes this book more than wish-fulfillment v It’s a funny series, this one. Charming in its way - unfinished, too, since only the first five books were published in the US - and a weird mix of hard work and ridiculous good luck.

That mix is best done in the third book, I think, which is not coincidentally the book where Drina actively tries to live a wider life. That changes in the later books, when her chief defining characteristic is that she must dance, more than anything.

It’s that note that makes this book more than wish-fulfillment vapidity. She gets married, yes, to someone rich, and she’s in the midst of tremendous professional success - at eighteen. But you get the sense that her entire life will be defined by her art and her single-mindedness, no matter how that affects her relationships, and there’s almost the sense that maybe that’s not a good thing. That her life might seem perfect now, but that it may become difficult. And it’s not only the artistic-temperament perspective. It’s an interesting touch.

There are also the difficult parts of the book - poverty, loneliness, professional jealousy, ego. They’re on the periphery, but they’re there, and they make the series much more than the simple story it easily might have been.

I don’t know that this is good, necessarily (though I loved the first five books as a twelve-year-old). There are off notes: the timeline is too compressed, and some characters are unrecognizable. But this does have something more to say than “the road to success is paved with roses,” and I appreciate that.
Drina Goes on Tour :: Drina Dances Again :: Drina Dances in Switzerland :: Stories and Early Novels: Pulp Stories / The Big Sleep / Farewell, My Lovely / The High Window :: Where the Red Fern Grows
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